Western Washington University · Bellingham, Washington
What is the study of Geology?
A geoscientist is someone who studies the Earth’s physical makeup and history. Geology is the science that provides the key to finding new sources of useful Earth materials and to understanding Earth processes that affect our lives. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety and welfare.
Geoscientists are curious about the Earth. How was it formed? How is it changing? What effects will shrinking glaciers have on the oceans and climate? How do islands form? What makes a continent move? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? What makes a mountain?
Geoscientists are concerned about the Earth. Is there a global warming trend? How and where should we dispose industrial wastes? How can we fill society’s growing demands for energy and conserve natural resources for future generations?
Geoscientists enjoy the Earth. It is an outdoor laboratory filled with opportunities to observe Earth processes in action. By applying knowledge of forces that shape the Earth, Geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.
Why Should I Consider this Major?
Do you like to know why and how things work? Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you concerned about the environment? Are you interested in travel? Do you like to analyze things? Are science and nature among your favorite subjects? Have you ever wondered why the Earth appears as it does? If you answer “yes” to most of these questions the Geosciences could offer a good career for you.
This option is designed to provide students with a broad background in geology, with advanced preparation in earth materials, structural geology, and tectonics. Completion of this program will prepare students for a variety of careers in geology or graduate work in geology. This program is recommended for students who are preparing to become professional geologists and intend to enter industry or enroll in a graduate program upon completion of the degree.
The Geology Department here has one of the best undergraduate programs in the nation- our faculty have designed an excellent program that includes a good mix of courses taught in the field, courses with extensive laboratory and research components, and courses that include significant analytical and spatial/mapping content. Students in our program enjoy the supportive and collaborative atmosphere among the faculty, staff, and students in our department. Our students graduate with many valuable skills and experiences, and leave Western for graduate school or for jobs in a variety of geoscience fields as professional geologists. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientists will be significant.
- Bernie Housen, Faculty
The geology program provided me with a really well-rounded education with great one-on-one teacher-student collaborations, a nice variety of subjects to study, and a strong friendship with fellow students. In addition, the Bellingham area is the perfect place for a hands-on learning experience in geology
- Margaret Pueringer, Student
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Department of Natural Resources
- Oil Exploration
- Mining Geologist
- U.S. Forest Service
- Engineering Geologist